Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The Noble Semicolon

There is this wonderful little punctuation mark known as the semicolon. It is my personal favorite punctuation mark and I protect its few functions as best I can. Here's the thing about the semicolon: using one correctly makes you look smart; using one incorrectly makes you look really stupid. Many people suffer from the delusion that using a semicolon - properly or not - makes you appear intelligent or perhaps scholarly. False. When I see a sentence punctuated like this one; I want to punch a watermelon.

Semicolons do NOT separate dependent clauses; commas can, as seen in the following sentence. Semicolons CAN separate independent clauses, as seen in the previous sentence. Semicolons are also useful in a list, if the items normally separated by a comma already contain commas. We visited London, England; Paris, France; and Rome, Italy.

Friends, stop using semicolons incorrectly. It makes you look like an idiot. If you don't know how to use one, don't. There are ways to survive without this glorious comma-and-colon-combination, though we all know I prefer to survive with it.

Love and Semicolons,
Leah Joy

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